Skip to main content

Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

See other formats

iv .                       THE CHURCH OF S. IRENE                        97
cornice, is still found. Of the corresponding doorway in the south aisle only the threshold is left. These doorways must have communicated with the outer world to the east of the church, like the doorways which occupy a similar position in the Studion (p. 53). The northern compartment had an opening3 which is still surmounted by architrave and cornice, also in its north wall. There are3 moreover^ four other openings or recesses in the northern wall of the church^ and two in the southern.
The main portions of the aisles are divided from the nave by light screens of columns^ the eastern and western portions being connected by passages driven through the dome piers. In the eastern nave bay there are four columns, giving five aisle bays on each side. The columns are very slender,, without any base rnoulding5 and stand upon square pedestals3 now framed round with Turkish woodwork. On opening one of these frames the pedestal was found to be a mutilated and imperfectly squared block of stone. Such blocks may have served as the core of a marble lining, or may be damaged material re-used.
The capitals are of the  Pseudo-Ionic' type^ with roughly cut Ionic volutes. The sinking on their lower bed is too large for the necks of the columns* Towards the aisles they bear the monograms of Justinian and Theodoras identical with the monograms of these sovereigns in S. Sophia, while on the side towards the nave they have a cross in low relief. Usually monograms are placed in the more conspicuous position.
Above the capitals the vaulting that covers the aisles and supports the galleries is of an uncommon type. Towards the nave the arches are narrow and raised upon very high stilts ; from each capital a semicircular arch is thrown across to the outer wall, where is a range of windows^ each of which has an extrados at a slightly higher level than the extrados of the corresponding nave arch ; and thus a long narrow space is left between the four arches of each vault compartment that could be filled, wholly or in part3 without the use of centering. The result is a narrow, irregularly curved vault, shaped to the backs of each of its